BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New York is one of four states to see a drop in the adult obesity rate in 2015. It's the first time any state has seen a decrease in the past decade.
"We're getting there. We have a ways to go, but we are getting there," says Carol DeNysschen, Chair of the Health, Nutrition & Dietetics Program at SUNY Buffalo State.
DeNysschen says the policies, programs, and environmental changes to help us lead healthier lives in New York State are working. That is reflected in data released Thursday from the State of Obesity report by the Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It shows the adult obesity rate in New York was 25-percent last year, down from an all time high (since the study began 25 years ago) of 27-percent in 2014.
"Most restaurants do now offer healthy food choices. Even places that serve chicken wings will offer a healthy food choice. And that wasn't always the case before, but because we're educating, even the restaurant owners, that people want healthy food choices, they are now getting on the bandwagon and realizing that there are customers out there that would like a better food choices," says DeNysschen.
Diane Marra teaches exercise science at SUNY Buffalo State. She says Buffalo's bike lanes and parks have a huge impact on people staying healthy, but that exercise doesn't have as big of an impact on your overall health if you're not eating right.
"We have to move more. We move less in our society today than humans have ever moved in the history of the world. Everything is so convenient, and we're not built for that, and people need to start recognizing that that's not okay," says Marra.
DeNysschen says the number one thing you can do at home to help your children learn healthy choices is to be a role model.
"There's nothing better than having a plate of fruit and a plate of vegetables on the counter when kids get off that school bus. They're less apt to go to the cupboard and pull out potato chips if they see those fresh fruits and vegetables and have access to it," she says.
DeNysschen adds that in her opinion, food deserts need the most attention right now. Food deserts are neighborhoods where people don't have access to affordable fruits and vegetables. There are programs that we've reported on in Buffalo where corner stores are getting the refrigeration needed to be able to offer those healthy options.